In our world today, we have a myriad of concerns for our youth. The major problem facing the youth of our country is unemployment. Our youth are graduating from High School and College into a market where there is no place for them. The market is faced with three main problems: a changing economic model, outsourcing, and fewer retirees exiting the labor force. I will seek to explain how each of these has affected the market and created this problem for our youth.
The first factor in the problem is shrinkage in the labor market. According to a report from the Department of Labor, Employers are demanding highly skilled labor while turning away from unskilled labor (Lerman & Schmidt). Youth who are disadvantaged have very few options for employment, while youth who could at one point afford college educations are being asked for higher qualifications that cost more money. What we can see then, is that the barriers to entry into the labor force have become greater and costlier than ever before.
If the idea of higher education barriers wasn’t bad enough, we must look at the second factor in our problem. Businesses are either outsourcing the job, or importing the labor. With either case, youths are competing with a labor pool that is more skilled than them are cheaper to employ (Khan). While foreign labor is much cheaper to acquire, it also makes it hard for youth with and without educations the find entry level work.
The final factor in our problem is that many of the older participants in the workforce are not exiting the labor market and are working longer than previous generations. What this means is that in previous times, senior members of the workforce could comfortably retire around age sixty and thus free up a position for someone younger than them. This means that entry level jobs would open up far sooner. Now, many in the workforce are planning to work until they are eighty years old (Sladek, 2011).
The major problem with people working longer is that two “Boom” generations are competing. The “Baby Boomer” generation was an unprecedented population surge, adding tens of millions of youths to the labor market who are now unable to exit it. Now, we have the “Millennial” generation which is the second largest generation since the Boomers. The sad reality is that these two large population demographics are competing with each other in a dwindling labor market. Employers who are interested in highly skilled labor tend to prefer the more experience older workers over unproven graduates who may still need on the job training.
In conclusion, the greatest problem facing youth today is graduating into unemployment. This problem is multifaceted, and cannot be solved with a simple piece of legislation or any sort of social work. However, there are steps that can be taken to alleviate the problem. Those steps include working to lower the cost of an education, and also encouraging American employers to lower their standards and create new entry level positions in different fields.
Khan, H. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/02/are-americans-losing-high-skilled-jobs-to-foreigners/
Lerman, R., & Schmidt, S. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/history/herman/reports/futurework/conference/trends/trendsVII.htm
Sladek, S. (2011, December 06). Prolonged retirements could become america’s worst nightmare. Retrieved from http://xyzuniversity.com/2011/12/prolongedretirements/